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Published on July 5, 2018 | by Alastair Gilmour

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Central to the equation

The unique Central Bar in Gateshead opens a new chapter in its 160-year history with new tenants at the helm. Partners Gavin Sinclair and Marcia Mennie, who have taken out a lease on the hugely popular Grade II-listed pub, are no strangers to the place, having managed it for several years on behalf of Camerons Brewery.

The pair have fresh ideas on its day-to-day running and have exciting plans for the future which should make the venue an even more attractive proposition for drinking and dining. Gavin says: “Camerons approached us saying there was a tenancy opportunity and when we thought about it being a managed house and how there are so many costs to factor in with that. Plus with pretty much complete freedom to negotiate our own deals with suppliers, it started to make sense.

“I have to say Camerons have been brilliant with us throughout.

“It’s a tenancy with a bit of freedom which will allow us to offer a great choice of cask and keg beer at very good prices – we’re not city-centre. As well as six handpulls we’re free of tie on wines, bottles and spirits and all the suppliers have been a massive help.”

Gavin stared in The Central part-time in 2009, taking over as manager in 2012, so it’s safe to assume he knows every creak in every floorboard. The impressive roof terrace, popular for events and functions (weddings a speciality) will be freshened up while the Buffet bar will be open every day with friendlier lighting installed.

Little changes will reflect who they are, such as making The Central the most dog-friendly pub in the area.

“We’ll also still be offering our massive vegan and gluten-free menu,” says chef Marcia. “We’re looking at as much local produce as possible using smaller, local suppliers – people who can tell you the name of the cow the beef came from.”

Another craft beer line is being freed up which Anarchy Brew Co will take as a regular fixture with as much local brewery involvement as possible that will also include Allendale Brewery. Entertainments-wise the weekly quiz is making a comeback and also rock’n’roll bingo. The legendary Samso’s Footy Quiz is booked for Saturday September 1 (8pm).

“We want to break away from the corporate feel and get back more into the landlord-landlady way of working,” says Gavin. “We’re not changing things so much that people will say ‘we’re not going there any more’. There’s not a lot broken here, it just needs a few tweaks.”


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Alastair Gilmour



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